MAHOPAC, N.Y. — Mahopac football coach Tom Donahoe, who is retiring from the sideline after being the head coach of the Indians for 12 years, can’t pick just one moment that was his greatest as coach.
That’s because there were so many to choose from.
“I heard Jerry Seinfeld asked about his favorite episode of his TV show,” Donahoe said. “He replied that he tried his best on each of them, and that they were all his favorite. I have the same feeling about coaching football. There have been many great moments in games, practices, meetings and training sessions. I’ve truly enjoyed all aspects of coaching football, and I could not accurately pick one moment as the greatest. Even picking a Top 10 moments would be difficult. It’s been an honor and a privilege to coach football in Mahopac.”
Donahoe said he will miss the daily interaction with his players and his coaches, the camaraderie that develops among the players over the course of the season, the strategy that is involved with the game, being called “Coach” because he considers it to be the most important title in the field of education and many other things in addition to the above.
However, as much as he will miss being Mahopac coach, he said he is retiring because family, rightfully so, is his number one priority.
“We have always emphasized with our players the priority of No. 1 family, No. 2 academics and No. 3 athletics,” said Donahoe, who was named League Coach of the Year in 2011. “It’s an appropriate time for me to spend more time with No. 1.”
Playing a major factor in that decision were his three sons.
“Patrick just finished his senior football season at Hamilton College, where he was a team captain,” Donahoe said. “He also plays lacrosse there, and will begin his senior lax season shortly. Brendan is a sophomore at St. Lawrence University, where he plays strong safety on the football team. Christian is a senior in high school, who plans on playing college football next fall. He is also considering playing lacrosse, depending on his choice of school.”
Mahopac Athletic Director John Augusta said he will miss Donahoe, who was an assistant coach at Mahopac for 10 years before becoming head coach for the Indians.
In addition, Donahoe also coached youth football and JV football in White Plains before moving to Mahopac.
“Coach Donahoe contributed a great deal to the football program during his many years as both an assistant and head coach,” Augusta said. “He’s been an excellent role model for his players and effectively used football as a mechanism to teach life lessons. I think he represented the school and community in a positive way. His players excelled on the field, and more importantly in the classroom and the community.”
Part of that was Donahoe stressing to his players that wearing a Mahopac football jersey is as much a responsibility as it is an honor and in turn his players responded by being positive role models for the younger members of the community and always contributing to it.
“I am very proud of the frequent compliments I receive about the players from teachers, community members, opposing coaches and officials,” Donahoe said. “The real credit for that, though, goes to the parents of Mahopac. As coaches, we do not need to instill these. We are simply reinforcing those attitudes which have already been instilled by their parents. The parents in this community have delivered to us young men who are a pleasure to coach.”
Donahoe was also proud to coach in front of the Mahopac Maniacs, who he said are the best student fans in Section 1.
“What makes them so special is their enthusiasm, their school spirit, their creativity, and their knowledge of sports,” Donahoe said. “Additionally, the Maniacs and the athletes get along very well in school. Many football players become Maniacs for other sports. The ‘cliqueness’ among athletes that exists at some schools does not exist at Mahopac. The athletes blend right in with the student body, so the Maniacs appreciate cheering for their friends.”
Donahoe will continue to teach earth science at Mahopac High.
On the field, one thing that stood out was the 2010 season, where Mahopac went to the Section 1 Class AA finals, before losing to dynastic New Rochelle.
“That was a memorable season, especially since many of our wins were in very close games,” Donahoe said. “We had a group of talented and dedicated players, and it was very exciting to face a new challenge each week. It was particularly rewarding because that team had many seniors who ‘took their lumps’ the previous season as juniors, and used that experience as motivation for a great senior season. To play in the sectional final game — especially on our home field — was a great experience for our players, coaches and community.”